Saturday, August 23, 2008
I find myself wanting to write tonight. About what? About nothing, it seems. I'm in Idaho visiting my mother-in-law so I have no pictures or videos or menus to post. But I just feel like writing. I can't make any promises about this post. I can't promise it will interesting or worth reading or that it will even be published. I mean, what if I really can't come up with ANYTHING?
It's good to be here. I love my mother-in-law. She's so amazing. Her house is beautiful. She has a serious talent for home decorating. It's so comfortable and charming. I feel like I'm staying in a really cool bed and breakfast. (I add the "really cool" only because I've never really stayed in a B&B so I'm not sure if your average B&B is kind of lame?) She's helping me with my quilt and showing me some cool sewing techniques and we get lots of time to talk and laugh and she loves my kids. So does her husband. It's worth the two-day drive to get out here just to see my girls doted on by grandparents. Ooh! And she took me to a fabric store in Pocatello and they had a Turning Twenty quilt made out of Anna Maria Horner fabric! It was awesome. It was cool to be in a store that had more than just 2 or 3 prints that I was excited about. Bolt after bolt of gorgeous fabric, many of which I've never seen or heard of before. Bobby is here for a rotation in nephrology. He's had one busy summer and today he got the day off! I asked him today if this was the first day off he's had all summer and he said yes that he thought it was! It felt like we got an extra Saturday. We went to Idaho Falls and shopped all day. I often complain about living in a small town without many shopping options, and it's frustrating that when we do visit family in California or Utah/Idaho, we always want to spend at least a day of it just shopping. But today I asked Bobby if he thought we would enjoy shopping as much as we do if we could do it whenever we wanted. He said probably not. How's that for a silver lining? The girls and I got sick a few days after we arrived, and then we infected my poor MIL. I feel terrible for getting her sick, but we're all feeling a lot better, so hopefully it will be short-lived for her as well.
I love the weather here in the summer time. It's sunny, breezy, and cool and just... comfortable. And on Monday we go to Utah. I never thought I'd miss Utah as much as I do. I do miss it, though. It's sad. I used to drive the shuttle van occasionally when I worked at the Provo Marriott Courtyard and the passengers would always feel pressure to make small talk and the subject of the mountains would come up. "The mountains are so beautiful! Don't you just LOVE to look at them? You are so lucky that they are right in your backyard!" My response after having my Bobby daydream interrupted (Bobby was on his mission at the time): "Hmm? Oh yeah, uh-huh, it's awesome." But really thinking, whatever, you think this is cool? you should check out Southern CA beaches. But guess what? I miss the mountains. And last week when Heidi was in town and gushing over the thickly wooded areas and the green rolling hills, I tried really hard to remind myself to enjoy the Missouri scenery, because the time may come when I actually miss the humidity and rain and constantly living in fear of a heavy rainfall resulting in a flooded basement. And all the lush green is gorgeous. Oh and by the way, I'll just add that more than one passenger complained about my driving thanks to all the Bobby daydreaming reveries. Which I always thought was kind of weird- sure I veered off into the shoulder a couple of times on the way up to Sundance, but nobody was hurt or inconvenienced in any way whatsoever.
I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family in Utah. A little stressed and worried that I'm not going to make it to everyone and not sure how that will work out, but still- EXCITED!! My Dad is bringing my sister up on Wednesday. She's moving out of the house. My little Maggie is growing up! I'm happy that I'll be around to help with that transition and spend some time with them. I keep wondering what my Mom would want me to do for her. It forces me to reflect back on my own experience leaving home. We mailed my stuff and flew up to SLC. Linford, one of my Mom's best friends, drove us up to Rexburg. Every time I left home (getting married, study abroad in Vienna, leaving for college, girls camp, 6th grade camp), she totally broke the bank just getting me prepared. It was crazy. She always said it was just as much for her as it was for me. Because she would feel better knowing I had brand new towels and a dust ruffle on my twin bed stacked on cinder blocks for extra storage space. I remember before I left for Vienna, we were shopping at the GAP and she picked out this coral colored cardigan and shell. It was hideous. I hated it, but she loved it. I told her I didn't want it. She bought it anyway and hid it inside my coat inside my luggage with a note that basically said, "HA HA HA!!" She didn't think I was bringing enough clothes. I really love that story. Anyway, back to the leaving home story- MaryAnne Linford waited outside my apartment after we finished moving all my crap in and stocking my refrigerator. Mom and I sat on my bed and cried and cried. I didn't want her to go! But she did, she had to. It was time. My sweet roommates Taryn and Kelly came in to comfort me and five minutes later my Mom walked back in. She'd forgotten her purse! I was like, "are you kidding me?!" We laughed and laughed and had to do the whole thing all over again.
So what does my mom want me to do for Maggie? I don't really know, but one thing I've learned is that I don't need the people who are closest to me to try and fill in for my mother. I just need them to be what they are. I need my Dad to be my Dad, and Bobby to be my husband, and my sisters to be my sisters. I'm guessing that's how it is for Maggie, too. So I'll just be her big sister Katherine. Bigger? Older? No matter how I say that it just doesn't sound cool. :) Sigh.
A teaser- I made some cinnamon rolls right before I left and I can't stop thinking about them! I want more. They turned out great. I'm thinking about doing a master class with lots of pictures and directions when I get back home. So watch for it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We only lived there for a year but we became great friends with the Brady's and were very sad to leave. We were so thrilled to hear that they had a family reunion planned in August and even more thrilled when they agreed to make a small detour spend a few days with us.
Reunited, and it feels so good.
This was our first time meeting Jenna and their first time meeting Sophie. It kills me that we don't live closer and can't see them more. Our girls are nearly the same age!
And a word about the food. Heidi is a really good cook. When we lived near each other we had a lot of fun talking about cooking and sharing recipes and I was part of a cooking club that she organized. I was really excited to have the chance to cook for Bill and Heidi, since they share my passion for food and cooking! I've been crazy for this recipe that came to me by way of Lisa. It's for bacon-wrapped skewers and the secret is in the bacon. I follow my friend Lisa's suggestion and add lots of veggies like red onion, red peppers, and sometimes zucchini. I make sure and use a fresh pineapple. It's worth the extra money. I made Erin's lemon ice cream because it takes minutes to prepare and is always a crowd-pleaser. I also served tropical fruit kabobs with lime cream. Apparently you can't get a decent papaya where I live because the one I bought tasted like garbage. I used mango, bananas, and pineapple. Then we had it the next day with peaches. It's so good. In fact, I think I'm going to go make some more right now. I've had major dessert let-down ever since they left and maybe that will help.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The first night we moved to her to her own bed.
The second night we moved her to her own bed.
The third night we gave up and decided to leave her there.
So guess where we found them the 4th night?
In Sophie's crib!
I realized I haven't been posting new Sunday dinner entries for a really long time. With the weather being so hot, I thought we'd keep it fresh and light. A med school couple we know was giving away their grill and we were the lucky recipients! Bah-duh-bah-bah-bah-- I'm loving it.
Chile Rubbed Steak Tacos with Grilled Tomato Salsa
adapted using recipes from Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 head romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, halved and diced
Grilled Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
8 ounces sour cream
Heat grill to high.
Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and on the top rack of the grill while the steak is grilling.
Heat grill pan over high heat. On a work surface, crush garlic cloves using the flat side of a large knife; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place the flat side of the knife blade on top of the garlic and salt; press firmly, pulling knife toward you. Repeat until a paste forms; transfer to a small bowl. Add chili powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, pepper, espresso, and remaining tablespoon salt; stir to combine. Rub mixture all over skirt steak. Grill on one side until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook to medium-rare doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes then slice against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Fill each tortilla with some lettuce, 3 to 4 pieces of meat, onion, grilled tomato salsa, sour cream, and avocado.
Grilled Tomato Salsa:
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
2 serrano chiles
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
6 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat grill to high.
Heat oil in a small saute pan and saute the chiles, onion, and garlic until soft.
Brush tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until slightly charred and soft.
Transfer tomatoes and serrano mixture to a food processor; add the lime juice and salt and pepper and process until smooth. Add the cilantro and pulse a few times (there should be flecks of cilantro in the salsa.) Transfer to a bowl.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with BBQ Butter
from Bobby Flay
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Perfectly Grilled Corn, recipe follows
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ancho powder, paprika, cumin and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the mixture becomes thickened and the water reduces. Let cool slightly.
Place the butter in a food processor, add the spice mixture and Worcestershire sauce and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, scrape the mixture into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Bring to room temperature before serving and spread the butter over the corn while hot.
Perfectly Grilled Corn:
4 ears corn
Heat the grill to medium.
Pull the outer husks down the ear to the base. Strip away the silk from each ear of corn by hand. Fold husks back into place and tie the ends together with kitchen string. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.
Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Remove the husks and eat on the cob or remove the kernels.
How to remove corn kernels from cob: To remove kernels from cobs of either raw or cooked corn, stand cob upright on its stem end in a large pan, holding tip with fingers. Cut down the sides of cob with sharp paring knife, releasing kernels without cutting into cob. Run dull edge of knife down the cob to release any remaining corn and liquid.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Franny has been extra sassy lately. Not sure what that's all about. It's probably just natural for a four year old, but the other morning the girls came in and woke me up and climbed into bed with me. We were all cuddling together when Franny started talking in gibberish, which drives me crazy.
I said, "Franny, use your words."
Franny replied with attitude, "No, Mommy, you use your words."
And then Sophie, with just as much attitude said, "Mommy, words, mommy."
Thanks for the double dose of sass, girls!
This picture was taken Sunday night. We had a storm and the power went out while Bobby and I were watching TV. We thought we'd check on the girls so we went upstairs with flashlights and we found that Sophie had crawled into Franny's bed. It was so cute.
Then Wednesday I put Sophie down for a nap and went downstairs to sew. We still have the fans going because we're trying to air out those walls (thanks to the holes I made in the drywall with the power drill thank you very much.) I couldn't hear Sophie so after about an hour I thought I'd better go check on her and make sure she was sleeping. When she wasn't in her bed I walked over to where Franny's bed is and found her curled in a ball in the small space between the bed and the window. What a weirdo.
Then yesterday I thought I'd stay in the next room after I put her down for a nap. Just for a few minutes to be sure she was asleep before I started my sewing. After 20 minutes of quiet, I was satisfied that she was asleep because of the dead silence, grabbed some toast and headed downstairs. On my way down I thought to myself, why not just check on her...
She was asleep alright, only not in her crib, but on the floor. Underneath her crib. With a stinky diaper. I felt so bad about the stinky diaper, I pulled her out by the foot and changed it without thinking to take a picture. She was so tired, she slept through the whole diaper change and went right back to sleep when I laid her in the crib.
Last night Bobby checked on the girls and called me in. Here's what we found:
That can't be comfortable.